ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles City Council has hired a consultant to determine if the construction of a river park and other proposed improvements along the Fox River would be financially beneficial.
At their Oct. 15 meeting, aldermen approved a contract not to exceed $72,000 – plus a maximum $5,500 in out-of-pocket expenses – between HVS Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities Consulting and the city for an economic impact and cost benefit analysis of the Fox River Corridor Master Plan.
"The City Council had expressed a strong interest in understanding through an economic and cost-benefit analysis what the return on investment would be, before committing to preliminary engineering design work for the Active Fox River project," St. Charles Community and Development Director Rita Tungare said in a memo.
The city has budgeted $400,000 for preliminary engineering for the Active Fox River project. HVS will analyze such proposed improvements as creating a riverpark that would begin at the railroad bridge and continue downstream of Main Street. According to the master plan, the riverpark would create a "recreational environment that is designed for a variety of skill levels and user types including freestyle kayakers, river-runners, slalom kayakers, stand-up paddlers, boogie boarders, rafters, and tubers."
The plan recommends modifying the current dam on the Fox River to create a series of drops and rapids that would be attractive to whitewater kayaking enthusiasts. HVS will also analyze a proposal to build a continuous riverwalk with large and small circulation loops.
Constructing an observation platform on the Union Pacific railroad bridge is another idea HVS will analyze. As part of its services, the company will determine which proposed improvement will create the most interest in redevelopment and tourism for the lowest cost.